Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Polls show Marco Rubio with sizable lead over Senate rivals Charlie Crist and Kendrick Meek

Republican Marco Rubio holds a solid 13-point lead over Gov. Charlie Crist, who is running as an independent in the race for Florida's U.S. Senate seat, with Democratic U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek a distant third at 18 percent, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released Thursday.

With a 46-33 edge over Crist, Rubio, a former speaker of the Florida House of Representatives and a favorite of the tea party movement, is benefiting from strong voter anger at the federal government, likely voters tell the independent Quinnipiac University survey, conducted by live interviewers.

"It is no coincidence that Rubio is getting 46 percent of the vote and 48 percent of the electorate is angry at Washington," said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

Added Brown: "Almost half of Florida's likely voters are angry at the federal government, and Rubio gets 68 percent of these angry voters. Moreover, with only 3 percent of voters undecided, Rubio just needs to hold onto what he's got, while Crist and Meek, especially, have their work cut out for them if they want to pass the leader."

The poll surveyed 1,151 likely Florida voters, on September 23-28. The margin of error: 2.9 percentage points.

At the start of the three-way Senate race, Democratic elections strategist Steve Schale suggested that Crist could not win enough Democrats and Republicans to win the race. But Schale based his analysis then on Crist winning more than the 45 percent of independent voters Quinnipiac showed supporting him Thursday.

"The basic math to win for Crist: win roughly 1/3 of the partisan vote and 50 percent of the NPA," Schale wrote in a widely circulated blog in August. "Quite frankly, if he doesn't get 50 percent [of independent voters], the whole conversation is purely academic."

However, Schale wrote that Meek would eventually garner a larger share of the Democrat vote than the 43 percent Quinnipiac showed him winning.

On Wednesday, Schale told the News Service of Florida that the Quinnipiac numbers bolstered his argument that the numbers did not add up for Crist.

"I'm not going to deny that Rubio is in the driver's seat, but what I try to tell Democrats is as long as they continue to believe that Crist can win, which the Quinnipiac poll shows he can't, a vote for Crist is a vote for Rubio," he said. "It's time to realize that getting behind Meek — I know it's not an easy case to make — is still more viable than thinking Crist can win."

Schale, who ran President Barack Obama's campaign in Florida, added that Meek drawing 18 percent in the poll a month from Election Day doesn't mean he can't make up ground in the race.

"Where was Barack Obama in Iowa six weeks out?" he said. "The reality for Kendrick is, if he gets 80-85 percent of the Democratic vote, it's a very different race."

Quinnipiac showed Meek garnering 43 percent of Democrats, basically splitting them with Crist.

Two other polls within the past week show Rubio with an equally large lead over Crist and Meek.

According to the CNN-Time-Opinion Research Corp. poll released Wednesday, 42 percent of likely voters in Florida support Rubio, while just 31 percent backed Crist. Meek had 23 percent; just 3 percent were undecided.

Said CNN polling director Keating Holland in a statement: "Crist had a lead among independents at the start of the month, but Rubio now appears to have the edge among this key group.

"And with Meek holding a majority of the vote among Democrats, that narrows Crist's options heading into the final turn."

On Saturday, a Mason-Dixon Research & Associates poll of 625 likely voters showed 40 percent supported Rubio, while Crist had just 28 percent. Meek's tally: 23 percent.

Said Mason-Dixon pollster Brad Coker: "Crist is bleeding Democrats to Meek and independents to both Meek and Rubio."

News Service of Florida reporter Keith Laing contributed to this report.

Polls show Marco Rubio with sizable lead over Senate rivals Charlie Crist and Kendrick Meek 09/30/10 [Last modified: Thursday, September 30, 2010 10:56pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Five children hospitalized after chlorine release at Tampa pool store


    Five children were sickened at a pool store north of Tampa on Monday after a cloud of chlorine was released, according to Hillsborough County Fire Rescue.

  2. Deputies find unidentified decomposing body in Dunedin canal

    Public Safety

    DUNEDIN — Pinellas County sheriff's deputies found an unidentified male body floating in a Dunedin canal Monday afternoon, the Sheriff's Office said.

  3. Rays acquire slick-fielding shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria from Marlins

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Chaim Bloom said the Rays weren't necessarily in the market for a shortstop. The team has a number of those. But when the Marlins recently began shopping Adeiny Hechavarria, well, that was too much to pass up.

    Adeiny Hechavarria has emerged as one of baseball’s top defensive shortstops in the past three seasons with the Marlins.
  4. Lightning journal: Forward Yanni Gourde agrees to two-year deal

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Just three years ago, Yanni Gourde was fighting to stay in pro hockey.

    Tampa Bay Lightning center Yanni Gourde celebrates after scoring against the Florida Panthers during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, March 11, 2017, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara) TPA108
  5. Fennelly: About time Dave Andreychuk makes Hockey Hall of Fame

    Lightning Strikes

    It's Andy's time.

    And it's about time.

    Former Lightning captain Dave Andreychuk has been elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame. He had been eligible since 2009, a ridiculously long wait for someone who scored 640 goals, including a record 274 on the power play.

    LEFT: Dave Andreychuk talks at the podium as he is honored with a statue in front of the now-Amalie Arena.